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Kansas clinches share of Big 12 regular-season title

Mar 9, 2008 - 3:51 AM COLLEGE STATION, Texas (Ticker) -- Kansas continued its push for a top seed in both the Big 12 Conference and NCAA Tournaments.

Darrell Arthur and Mario Chalmers scored 16 points apiece as the sixth-ranked Jayhawks rolled to a 72-55 victory over Texas A&M and clinched at least a share of the Big 12 regular-season title.

Sherron Collins added 13 points for Kansas (28-3, 13-3 Big 12), which moved one-half game ahead of Texas (25-5, 12-3) atop the league standings. The Jayhawks have won or shared the regular-season crown four straight seasons.

"Winning four (Big 12 Conference) championships in a row is a great accomplishment," Collins said. "We have been here for two of those and we did everything we could to send our seniors out with a bang. Right now we are looking forward to the Big 12 tournament and hope to keep playing well."

The Longhorns wind up the regular season by hosting Oklahoma State on Sunday. If Texas wins, it will share the conference title with Kansas but earn the No. 1 seed in the Big 12 tournament by virtue of beating the Jayhawks, 72-69, on February 11.

Kansas was in control throughout against the offensively-challenged Aggies, who endured a long scoring drought in each half.

Woeful shooting plagued Texas A&M (22-9, 8-8), particularly leading scorer Josh Carter, who finished with five points and shot just 1-of-11 from the floor.

"We did a good job trapping the post and came up with a lot of big steals in the last 10-12 minutes," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "I think you develop your identity away from home and I think that tonight we played as whole a game away from home as we have all year."

Arthur scored 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting to spark the Jayhawks to a 36-26 lead at halftime.

Despite going more than six minutes without a field goal, the Aggies were within six points until Chalmers buried a 3-pointer and finished the half by hitting a jumper in the lane.

"They are a great defensive team and it was hard to get rolling against them sometimes," Texas A&M guard Dominique Kirk said. "We played hard but we just have to play better. They beat us on transition all night, we just couldn't get back. They got a lot of steals and rebounds and played with a lot of effort."

Russell Robinson's three-point play in the first minute of the second half extended the margin to 41-30.

Texas A&M showed one brief offensive flash when Donald Sloan and Carter hit back-to-back 3-pointers to slice the deficit to 44-38. But Robinson scored consecutive baskets to restore the lead to double digits at 55-44 with 8:20 to play.

"Kansas was great. Darrell Arthur and Sherron Collins were fantastic," Aggies coach Mark Turgeon said. "They controlled the game inside and out. We didn't play well enough to beat a top-five team.

Sloan and Kirk scored 15 points each for Texas A&M, who were just 2-of-12 from the arc.

Arthur finished 8-of-10 from the floor and also grabbed nine boards in helping Kansas to shoot 50 percent (27-of-54) from the floor.

"I thought we played good team ball today," Arthur said. "We came out and played well tonight. We played together and I think we are on an upswing right now."

Enough of an upswing to earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAAs?

"If it happens it happens, if it doesn't it doesn't," Collins said. "We just have to play the hand we are dealt."

    --- --- -----
    KANSAS (6) 36 36 72
    TEXAS A&M 26 29 55 FINAL

    Mar 8 6:07 PM

    (6) KANSAS 36

    Mar 8 4:51 PM